Professors take on new titles

Michael Schreiber

A number of Lawrence faculty members will be receiving promotions for the upcoming academic year.
Both Assistant Professor William Hixon and Assistant Professor Joanne Metcalf will be awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor. Associate Professor Patrice Michaels will be promoted to full professor, and Catherine Kautsky of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will return to Lawrence to chair the keyboard department.
Hixon, who is a member of the government department, specializes in American politics. According to Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows, he is known for setting very high standards and making every effort to help his students meet them.
Hixon has also published several scholarly articles in prestigious journals such as Presidential Studies Quarterly.
Metcalf is a faculty member in the Conservatory who teaches composition, theory and music history. According to Burrows, students have called her “inspiring, energetic, knowledgeable and easily approachable.” Her creative work, in the field of vocal composition, is of “distinguished, high quality,” said Burrows. Metcalf is currently working on an opera, an excerpt of which was presented on campus under the title “La Serenissima.”
Michaels will be made Professor of Music, having been an associate professor for at least six years and having demonstrated continued excellence during that time.
Burrows said that Michaels has demonstrated “excellence in vocal performance and instruction in technique” and that reviewers have noted Michaels’ “impressive agility and musicianship.”
Kautsky will be returning to Lawrence as a full, tenured professor to chair the keyboard department, filling the position that will be vacated by Michael Kim. She had previously been on the Lawrence faculty for several years. Kautsky has had success in her career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Burrows said he is “glad to have lured her back.”
The process for faculty to receive promotions begins with the Committee on Tenure, Promotion, Reappointment, and Equal Employment Opportunity, commonly referred to as the tenure committee.
The tenure committee, which is comprised of members of the faculty, evaluates those up for promotion in three key areas. According to Burrows, faculty members who are to be promoted must demonstrate excellence as teachers, activity as scholars and must provide service to the Lawrence community.
The same three criteria are applied to those seeking tenure and those being promoted, and faculty must be excellent in all three areas in order to succeed. Burrows noted that no amount of achievement in one area can compensate for a failure in another.
When the tenure committee evaluates a candidate for tenure or promotion, student input is always solicited, leading Burrows to call the promotion process an “example of shared governance” at Lawrence.
If the committee approves of a candidate, the committee makes a recommendation to the president that the candidate be promoted.
The president then may make the same recommendation to the Board of Trustees, and the trustees have the final say in who does and does not receive promotions or tenure.
According to Burrows, the Lawrence promotion procedure is typical for a nationally known liberal arts institution.
Burrows said he is glad to talk about the promotion process, as it gives him “a chance to discuss how strong some of our faculty are.